After hearing more arguments challenging the original case findings of Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio, a state court’s preliminary ruling against Oregon’s Measure 114 gun control policy will remain in effect.
All of the defense counsel representing the Oregon Department of Justice’s objections to Judge Raschio’s assessment of the case were dismissed. The provision, according to that ruling, infringes on the state’s constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.
Originally scheduled to go into effect on December 8, 2022, was Measure 114. Judge Raschio ordered a preliminary injunction allowing parties to contest its validity in federal and state courts, putting it on hold.
Judge Karen Immergut of the U.S. District Court found in July 2023 that the statute does not violate the U.S. Constitution after the proposal was contested in federal court.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has received an appeal from the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit. The case might then go to the US Supreme Court as a result.
“This marks another victory for Oregon firearm owners against the most extreme gun ban in the United States,” Tony Aiello, Jr. attorney for plaintiffs told The Epoch Times.
“The state defendants did nothing more than waste the court’s and parties’ time and resources with their motion. It is unfortunate that they do so with bottomless resources supplied by Oregon taxpayers.”
The decision is likely to be appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Measure 114, which narrowly passed in November 2022, mandates that Oregonians obtain a permit to purchase a firearm after undergoing an FBI background check and enrolling in a police-sponsored firearms class, which is not yet available.
The police would be required to create and operate an application process and maintain databases of applicant information.
The measure also bans magazines that are “capable of holding or being modified to hold” more than 10 rounds.
Proponents contend that the “Reduction in Gun Violence Act” will save lives.
Gun rights advocates have called it one of the most extreme gun laws in the country, claiming that it will strip law-abiding citizens of their constitutional right to bear arms in the state.
They argue that legal gun sales would end in Oregon should Ballot Measure 114 survive court challenges.
The state’s defense lawyers contended during this week’s hearing that the judge was mistaken in almost all of the conclusions she made after the September trial.
State defendants contested the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) determination that it was unable to carry out background checks per the bill’s requirements.
In a legal opinion, the FBI had earlier told the state that it would not perform the background checks mandated by the new law, stating that it would be illegal to do so since the measure “does not meet the requirements of Pub. L. 92-544.”
But the FBI backed down, saying it would give Oregon a “grace period,” just after Judge Raschio published his judgment on November 21.
The defendants were able to assert that this objection was no longer valid as a result.
Based on the factual record, Judge Raschio disagreed.
The state objected to the court’s finding that the parties had “agreed” that Measure 114 “delays the purchase of firearms for a minimum of 30 days.”
It also objected to the court’s findings that mass shootings are sensationalized by the media, that the measure’s backers failed to present evidence of enhanced public safety, that a “magazine is a necessary component of a firearm,” and that “almost all emigrants to the Oregon Territory had firearms.”
The judge rejected each of these arguments.
Opponents of the measure took issue with the state’s defense of the law.
“The state is spending millions to end firearm ownership in Oregon and prosecute Oregonians who exercise their rights under the U.S. and Oregon Constitutions,” Keven Starrett of Oregon Firearms Foundation, one of the plaintiffs in the federal case, told The Epoch Times.
“The next step in Oregon’s endless war against its most law-abiding citizens will no doubt be an appeal of the judge’s injunction to a higher court, paid for by taxpayers,” he said.
Mr. Aiello agreed.
“Normally, I would anticipate that the parties will agree to language to be included in the General Judgment this week, the General Judgment would be signed, and then Defendants will file an appeal,” he said. “However, this case has been unpredictable.”
The state defendants must prevail in both federal and state courts for Measure 114 to remain in effect. The law will be overturned if the plaintiffs win only one of these cases.